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Energy & Sustainability Washington Update — March 2024

House Energy & Commerce Committee Leadership Change for Next Congress

With the general election nine months away, 43 members of the House of Representatives have announced they will not seek reelection, including the recent surprise announcement by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The congresswoman currently serves as chair of the powerful House Committee on Energy & Commerce (E&C), which has the most expansive jurisdiction in all of Congress and is the oldest standing legislative committee in the House. 

There are currently two contenders to replace Rep. McMorris Rodgers as Republican leader at the committee next year – either as chair if Republicans retain the majority or as ranking member if Democrats retake the majority. 

  • Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) currently chairs the Subcommittee on Communications & Technology. He has pressed the Biden administration to reverse its decision to ban LNG exports and is a vocal advocate for nuclear energy. E&C recently advanced his bipartisan Nuclear Fuel Security Act, which would establish and expand US nuclear fuel programs to boost domestic uranium mining, production, enrichment, and conversion capacity. He also supports the natural gas industry and currently co-chairs the Congressional Propane Caucus. 

  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) currently chairs the Subcommittee on Health. On energy policy, he describes himself as an advocate for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” to preserve American energy independence and lower energy costs. He has vocally opposed the Biden administration’s energy proposals and expressed that the federal government should not impose any restrictions on the export of crude oil or other petroleum products. He is an advocate for nuclear energy, and his bill, the Nuclear for Brownfields Site Preparation Act, was recently advanced by E&C. He is also a member of the Conservative Climate Caucus and states that he believes climate change is a “real and serious threat.”

Visit the ML Strategies Insights Center to read more about the race to fill this key leadership post.

New Opportunities from DOE for Advanced Battery Manufacturing  

As part of the Biden administration’s continued efforts to advance the nation’s clean energy transition, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) announced a new funding opportunity to advance the research and development of platform technologies that improve the manufacturability, scalability, reproducibility, and circulatory flow of sodium-ion batteries, flow batteries, and nanolayered films for energy storage. The funding opportunity includes two topic areas focused on: 

  • platforms facilitating adaptable, scalable, and precise battery manufacturing, emphasizing the development of advanced machines for critical battery components and systems; and 
  • developing versatile smart manufacturing platforms to enhance core aspects of the design, control, and monitoring of battery manufacturing.

Interested parties must submit concept papers of no more than five pages by March 4, 2024. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their concept papers at least 48 hours in advance of the submission deadline. 

AMMTO anticipates granting 13 awards under this opportunity, with award amounts ranging from $1.1 million to $4.1 million.

Visit the ML Strategies Insights Center to read more about this funding opportunity from DOE

DOE Announces Second Round of Defense Production Act Funding for Electric Heat Pumps 

The Energy Department’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains recently announced a second round of Inflation Reduction Act funding to accelerate the growth of domestic manufacturing of residential heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and other heat pump systems and components. This $63 million investment, invoked by President Biden’s use of emergency authority based on climate change, utilizes the Defense Production Act to increase domestic production of key clean energy technologies. This funding opportunity has three topic areas: 

  • Residential heat pump production capability

  • Heat pump water heater production capability

  • All other heat pump and component production capability

Concept papers are due March 15, and full applications are due April 29. 

New Program to Support Transit & School Bus Fleet Electrification 

On February 20, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced the $5 million Clean Bus Planning Awards (CBPA) program, funded by the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. Managed by NREL, the CBPA program will provide free technical assistance to create comprehensive and customized bus electrification plans for fleets across the United States through Fiscal Year 2024. This new program will facilitate electrification in the first round of awards by helping managers create step-by-step plans to transition to zero-emission buses. The CBPA program also offers optional fleet deployment assistance that fills the gap between planning and implementation.

DOE-DOT Joint Office Update on NEVI Program for EV Charging Infrastructure

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation recently released an update on the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which is administered by the Federal Highway Administration and funds states to deploy electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The update highlights new public conditional NEVI awards, including for station locations in Utah, Texas, Rhode Island, Kansas, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Michigan. There are 33 states that have released solicitations for the NEVI program, with 16 of these states already awarding contracts and installing charging stations. 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law & Inflation Reduction Act Opportunities

Visit our Energy Funding Matrix for a roundup of various federal clean energy funding and financing opportunities. We update the matrix on a biweekly basis and welcome any inquiries about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, along with other relevant federal opportunities, may impact your business or organization. 

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R. Neal Martin

ML Strategies - Senior Director of Government Relations

R. Neal Martin is a Senior Director of Government Relations at ML Strategies. He focuses on transportation, infrastructure, clean energy, trade, and federal appropriations, leveraging his many years of experience in government and government relations.